Thursday, August 25, the Nevada City City Council and all City employees met for a full day of a three year strategic planning day for the City. The public was invited to come to listen and watch for the day, and Janice O'Brien, President of Sierra Roots was there for the day. Bill Kerr and Pinky Zalkin also joined her for several hours.  The very good, good news is that the City took the situation of homelessness in Nevada City and the problems some of the transient population who come through town present to be addressed.  A team of Tim Foley, Police Chief, Mark Prestwich, City Manager, Duane Strawser and Reinette Senum, two City Council members were tasked with five very specific actions to be completed by February 15, 2017. 

Finally, the City of Nevada City is addressing the homelessness situation that is growing and making so many people nervous, afraid and disgusted. This team will be inviting Sierra Roots to help them take these actions in a well thought out way to help the whole community. We rejoice that we can finally work with the City in a very practical way to do the good thing for our homeless citizens and our town.

Sierra Roots has committed to the "HOUSING FIRST" approach to end homelessness in our community. We can offer food, clothes, and help in a number of other ways, but until we can get permanent housing for our homeless people here, we can't really help them get out of homelessness. The micro-house Village is our answer to providing permanent, supportive housing for these folks.
"HOUSING FIRST" is an approach that centers on providing homeless people with housing quickly, and then providing services as needed. What  differentiates a HOUSING FIRST approach from other strategies is that there is an immediate and primary focus on helping individuals and families quickly access and sustain permanent housing. This approach has the benefit of being consistent with what most people experiencing homelessness want and seek help to achieve. HOUSING FIRST programs share critical elements: 


STRETCHER HOUSE  is now open 
weekdays from  10 AM to 4 PM
LUNCH is served from  11:30-12:30

SHOWERS are from  1-3:30 PM 
(We will wash the clothes you are wearing)

CLEAN CLOTHES: Freshly washed clothing items, underwear, and some shoes are also available.

Sundays open from  9 AM- 12 noon. A meal is served at  10 AM

Closed Saturdays

Volunteer sign up or donations, call Pauli 264-6102
606 Gold Flat Road, Nevada City, CA

by Janice O'Brien
This is only one of many stories showing how difficult it is to get into rehab and the many hurdles to be crossed even for a very determined person who happens to be homeless. 
I got a call from our Secretary, Susan Molloy, giving me the phone number of someone who needs help with transportation to Behavioral Health the next day.  I called the number and learned that the caller, Ruben, was from Sparks, Nevada and had an appointment with the county worker, Jan Sprier, who would help him get into an alcohol rehabilitation program. I promised to pick him up the next day and take him to the county office.
We arrive at the office at 1:00 p.m. and Ruben realizes he has left his phone charging at Pioneer Park. I hurry back to Pioneer Park to retrieve it for him hoping it hasn't been picked up by some other homeless person. I find it and take it back to him. He is so happy - without his phone, he's lost. We wait and wait. Read More:


Sierra Roots has long been working on the concept plan for a Micro-House Village in Nevada County for those who are unhoused and who wish to live in a self-governed, self- sustaining and safe village. Now that there is a well thought-out plan on what the village will look like and how it will function, it is time to begin the hard work of making it happen. 

A new Project Development Team has been created to work through all the details. Here a short list of initial tasks:
  • Work with local governments to determine the appropriate zoning and locations; request revisions or waivers as needed
  • Continue research for an appropriate site
  • Preparing a detailed development plan that Planning Departments can review
  • Seek an initial meeting with Planning for feedback about concerns, omissions, and recommendations

The current team will consist of Board Members Keith Cantrell and Paul Boisvert, our new Treasurer, and Rick Marshall, a County Engineer and Development Services Manager in the Bay Area, who will be retiring here in May.

We are all excited about moving into the implementation phase of our Village!


Paul Boisvert has been involved in a variety of social activism over the years. His first efforts were in 1977-78 working against Proposition 6 in the campaign that was spearheaded by Harvey Milk. In the 1980s and 90s Paul was involved in responding to the AIDS epidemic by doing fundraising, political actions and as a volunteer at a Hospice.

 In 1999, Paul and his partner Rick celebrated their relationship with a Commitment Ceremony. They subsequently spent many years working toward marriage equality and were legally married in 2008. 

Most recently, Paul and Rick have both been working with the Citizenship Project in Napa County that guides documented immigrants through the citizenship application process. 
Their first experience in working to serve those without housing was around 2006-07 when their church in San Luis Obispo offered its sanctuary as overnight lodging when the local shelter became unable to accommodate the growing demand. When they relocated to Nevada County 2-1/2 years ago, they looked for ways to become involved with our community and were fortunate to learn of  Sierra Roots

Paul says, "As Unitarian Universalists, 'we covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person.'  I can think of no better way to live that principle than to work alongside these folks who are committed to that as well."

Sierra Roots has received a donation from Scott Taylor, owner of   The Optimized Computer, of a Mac Book Pro Lap Top computer, which we will use to present our new slide show at fund raising events and interest groups. 
Thank you Scott for helping us spread the word about Sierra Roots!


Next Monthly Volunteer Meeting  Thursday,  
September 8, 2016
First Methodist Church ~ 433 Broad Street, Nevada City

Our monthly meetings are intended for those who are just becoming acquainted with Sierra Roots and want to learn more about the various volunteer opportunities and for those already involved to keep you all up to date, informed and involved in discussion and planning.

Not everyone  is aware of the many ways Sierra Roots engages and builds community with our homeless friends while we continue to look for land for our Village.  We'll talk about some of the lesser known volunteer opportunities at this meeting also.

Special Request from all current volunteers:   In  order to update our records, we need current mailing addresses.   This can be provided at the meeting, or, if you cannot attend, please forward the information to Danita Sorenson , Volunteer Coordinator at:

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